St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 29, 2014 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team battled its way to a pair of three-set victories to open the 2014 season Friday evening at the WU Field House. The Bears earned a 25-23, 25-13, 25-20 win over Greenville College in the season-opener, before topping Loras College 25-21, 25-15, 25-21 in the final match of the evening.
Washington U. (2-0) continues play in the Labor Day Classic with a pair of matches Saturday, Aug. 30. The Bears take on Buena Vista University at 3 p.m., before facing Nebraska Wesleyan University at 7.
Washington U. 3, Greenville 0
Washington U. jumped out to a 10-2 win in the first set against Greenville, including a string of five straight points served by sophomore Caroline Dupont. A kill by sophomore Alex Sheredy made the score 11-3 in favor of the Bears before the Panthers rattled off seven points, including three aces in a row to cut the Bears' lead to 11-10. Greenville took its first lead of the match at 19-18 after three straight attacking errors by the Bears. Washington U. regained the lead at 21-20, but the Panthers scored the next three points to take a 23-21 advantage. A kill by junior Nkiru Udenze gave the Bears a side-out and a kill by junior Allison Zastrow tied the score at 23-23. Zastrow and Dupont got a block to give the Bears a set-point opportunity, and Udenze hammered home a kill to end the set.
Udenze recorded three kills and teamed with Dupont for a block to help the Bears jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set. The closest Greenville got the remainder of the set was 8-4, before a 6-1 run pushed Washington U.'s lead to 14-5. The Panthers got a pair of kills from Joelle Scholten to get to within 20-13 late in the set, but Washington U. scored the final five points to win the set 25-13.
The Panthers took a 9-6 lead on an ace serve in the third set, before a service error gave the Bears a side-out. Senior Lindsay Juriga served back-to-back aces to tie the score at 9-9. The Bears scored seven of the next nine points to take a 16-11 lead on a kill by junior Jackie Nelligan. Greenville pulled to within 20-18 late in the match, but Washington U. scored five of the final seven points to seal the match with a 25-20 win in the third set.
As a team, the Bears hit .202 in the match and had five blocks and six ace serves. Udenze led the Bears with 13 kills, six digs and three blocks, while hitting .333 in the match. Sheredy added eight kills and a team-high 10 digs, while Zastrow finished with seven kills, nine assists and six digs. Junior Cassie Wang had a team-best 14 assists, while sophomore Kalehua Katagiri tallied nine digs and six assists.
Washington U. 3, Loras 0
The Bears gained a 10-7 lead in the first set on back-to-back errors by the Duhawks, but Loras went on an 8-2 run to take a 15-12 lead and force a Washington U. timeout. Trailing 18-16, Washington U. got a side-out when Loras was called for being over the net. Zastrow served up an ace to tie the score at 18-18, and Sheredy followed with three straight kills. A solo block by Nelligan made it six consecutive points for the Bears, and Loras called timeout with Washington U. leading 22-18. A kill and a block by the Duhawks cut the Bears' lead to 22-20, but an attack error by Loras and an ace by Sheredy gave the Bears a set-point opportunity. After a kills by Loras made it 24-21, freshman Emily Richardson hammered a kill to give the Bears the 25-21 win in set one.
After falling behind 5-3 to begin the second set, Washington U. found its rhythm with an 11-2 run that included kills by five different players and ace serves by Sheredy and Wang to make it 14-7. Kills Udenze and Richardson pushed the Bears' lead to 22-12, and an attacking error by Loras gave the Bears the 25-15 win in the second set.
In set three, Washington U. jumped out to a 7-2 lead, before Loras cut the deficit to 14-11. A kill by Dupont gave the Bears the serve back, and after an attacking error by the Duhawks, Dupont served an ace to stretch the Bears' lead to 17-11. Loras got to within 22-20 on an attacking error by the Bears, but back-to-back kills by Dupont gave Washington U. match point. After a side-out by Loras, freshman Alex Hammarskjold powered a kill to give Washington U. a 25-21 win in set three and end the match.
Washington U. hit .239 as a team in the match, while recording six ace serves and five blocks. Dupont led the Bears offensively, unleashing 12 kills on 21 attacks while hitting at a .524 clip. Sheredy added nine kills, including six in the first set, and six digs. Wang had a double-double with a team-high 17 assists and 11 digs. Juriga added a career-high 13 assists. Katagiri led the Bears defensively with 23 digs, while adding five assists.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. improved to 455-49 (.903) all-time at the WU Field House with the two wins … The Bears have won each of their last 14 season openers … Head coach Vanessa Walby made her coaching debut with the Bears … Washington U. is now 12-12 all-time against Greenville … It was the first-ever match between Washington U. and Loras … Three Bears made their collegiate debuts Friday – Hammarskjold, Richardson and freshman Lauren Fournier.